Sprinters denied bid for stage win after two-rider escape stays away in Bedford
- Rossella Ratto moves into race lead

Italian Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren) caused an upset for the sprinters on a rainswept stage two of the Friends Life Women’s Tour after she and fellow escapee Susanna Zorzi (Astana-Be Pink) managed to keep the bunch at bay.

Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) led the bunch in for third place with local favourite Lucy Garner (Great Britain) in fifth.

Ratto moves into the overall race lead, relieving stage one victor Emma Johansson of the yellow jersey.

Silvia Valsecchi (Astana-Be Pink) was the first rider to make a move stick on the race’s longest stage, but was caught just after the first intermediate sprint point in Lutterworth

Ratto then broke free approaching the second Queen of the Mountains climb at Brixworth at 64.7 kilometres, and was later joined by fellow Italian Zorzi. The two riders worked well together to build up a gap of over two minutes when they hit 20km to go.

Armitstead’s Boels-Dolmans team hit the front of the bunch to try and start bringing the gap down. By 10km to go, the advantage was down to a minute but the peloton appeared ultimately helpless to chase them down.

Ratto then out-paced Zorzi to take the stage victory in Bedford with the bunch coming in close behind.

Television highlights of the stage will be shown on ITV4 between 9-10pm.

On Friday, the Women’s Tour peloton tackles a flat stage from Felixstowe to Clacton. Proximity to the North Sea will almost guarantee that the riders will have to cope with crosswinds. The race concludes on Sunday in Bury St Edmunds.

Results
Friends Life Women’s Tour 2014, stage two: Hinckley to Bedford, 118.5km

1. Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren in 3-02-02
2. Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana-Be Pink at st.
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv at 0-06
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) Netherlands
5. Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain
6. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle-Honda
7. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans
8. Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Lointek
9. Aude Biannic (Fra) Lointek
10. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Hitec Products all at st.

Overall classification after stage two
1. Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren in 5-30-18
2. Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Astana-Be Pink at 0-05
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv at 0-06
4. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS at 0-07
5. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans at 0-14
6. Hannah Barnes (GBr) UnitedHealhcare at 0-15
7. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0-16
8. Elise Delzenne (Fra) Specialized-Lululemon
9. Silvia Vlasecchi (Ita) Astana-BePink
10. Lucy Garner (GBr) Great Britain at 0-19

Yodel Direct Sprints Competition
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo-Liv

Strava QoM Competition
1. Sharon Laws (GBr) UnitedHealthcare

Matrix Young Rider Competition
1. 1. Rossella Ratto (Ita) Estado de Mexico-Faren

L&LR Best British Rider Competition
1. Lizzie Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans

Wet weather, Women's Tour 2014 stage two

Wet weather, Women’s Tour 2014 stage two

Women's Tour 2014 stage two

Sprint for third, Women’s Tour 2014 stage two

Lizzie Armitstead, Women's Tour 2014 stage two

Lizzie Armitstead, Women’s Tour 2014 stage two

Emma Johansson, Women's Tour 2014 stage two

Emma Johansson, Women’s Tour 2014 stage two

Rossella Ratto, Women's Tour 2014 stage two

Rossella Ratto, Women’s Tour 2014 stage two

Sharon Laws, QOM, Women's Tour 2014 stage two

Sharon Laws, QOM, Women’s Tour 2014 stage two